Archive for

Joy of Collecting Autographed Books

There is something about an autograph that excites me to no end.

It’s almost like holding life pulse of the person who created that signature with his or her own hand.

When I look at the glorious imperfections of a signature I immediately feel a strange connection between the hand that created that signal and myself.

It is almost like a bridge is erected instantly between the past and the present and something moves across.

The feeling is especially strong if the signature belongs to the author of the book that I’m holding in my hands.

Writing a book is tough.

Although I’ve written probably thousands of articles in my life I still haven’t written a single book because I did not have the discipline, desire and monetary incentive to write one.

Thus I have a lot of respect for anyone who writes a book.

That’s why my principal sentiment in holding a book in my hands has always been one of GREAT REVERENCE.

And that’s also why I always had a very hard time in parting with my old books even when I was sure I’d never read them again.

Autographed books always make me feel like I am being treated to a privileged meeting with the author.

And when I discovered that some autographed books also brought a lot of cash in the market, I’ll be honest with you, that did not make me feel any worse either.

Today I cherish the small collection of autographed books I have in my library, some of which have really interesting stories behind them.

Perhaps the strangest of them all is one that I got for FREE, by rescuing it from the trash bin of a public library! (It is 100% true.)

One day as I was visiting a public library not too far away from my home I saw librarians throwing away large stacks of withdrawn books into the dumpster. When I asked if I could take a peek, they told me I was free to help myself to any that I liked.

And guess what did I find after a few minutes of pecking my way through the heap? An interesting book on wines and wineries. Hmmm…

When I opened the book, I was really shocked because it was autographed, with an inscription scribbled for a friend, by none other than Baron Philip Rothschild of Bordeaux, France! Lord — what are chances of that ever happening again?!

I have another book in my collection about Wendy’s fast food empire and written by its founder Dave Thomas.

I’ve bought it for only 50 cents at a book sale when I noticed that there was a handwritten inscription inside, addressed to someone addressed as a “son,” and then signed simply as “Dave”!

To this date I’m almost sure this is the handwriting of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas who died in 2002. I’d love to verify that for sure some day.

I thought about the strange predicament of the book that a very important business leader has signed for someone that he obviously cared a great deal about.

And that someone, somehow, gave this precious book away to the library.

What happened in between? Who knows. Perhaps it’s a story longer and sadder than I ever need to know. But I’m keeping “Dave’s book” with me till I die for sure. Dave, it’s in good hands now.

I have a dozen other similar stories about the autographed books I’ve collected over the years, some for free, and some for just a few bucks.

If you love books and autographs, the next time you are at a yard or book sale, just look carefully inside them volumes. You may go back home with a precious gem to warm your heart and illuminate your mind for years to come.

Kids in America (In Libraries)

There are a lot of places that are not suitable for kids: torture chambers, bottomless pits, McDonald’s, etc. I would like to add one more to this list — the library. Now, I can already anticipate the reaction to this: “But how can you ban kids from the library? That’s not fair. I am going to murder you with a knife.” And I understand that reaction, but I am not stating that I want to ban kids from libraries; more so, I don’t want to see them in libraries. It’s a simple request, really…

Kids under the age of ten are ideal targets for the children’s section of a library. Almost all libraries have these so that kids can sit on much more comfortable chairs than what everyone else is sitting on, read much more colorful books and — if too engrossed in those books to get up — pass up on the bathroom for another, more convenient option. I think this is also known as Disney World. I don’t necessarily have a problem with children’s sections because I have little desire to walk into these sections myself, in the same way that lemurs at the zoo don’t bother me because I don’t bother them (but for the record, I could bother a lemur if I wanted, and I think I would do a good job at it — just don’t tempt me). The issue with kids in libraries stems from the non-children’s areas…

Kids and libraries are a horrible mix. The main rule of all libraries is to remain silent, and the main priority of kids is to never shut up. The secondary rule of libraries is to walk so as not to be disruptive, whereas the secondary priority of kids is to run around in circles until someone notices, at which point the circular motion continues at a faster pace. These contrasts throw the library for a loop. This is the same type of disaster that landed Wilford Brimley on Quaker Oats containers. Dewey Decimal is probably crying in his numerical grave…

Some may wonder why kids are at libraries, considering everything I just described. Like everything else, this is the parents’ fault for bringing them to these places that have nothing but words on papers. What parents really need to be doing is bringing their kids to malls and letting the kids roam free so that they can grab Cinnabons and steal clothes from stores. Or, if malls are closed, what better bonding activity is there than collecting bugs in jars, and then letting those bugs go, and then collecting them again?

If we truly want our world’s libraries to be able to compete with the Internet as the main source of information, we must begin with stricter rules for kids — and free cotton candy… and big-time dart competitions….

But I digress.